Monday, November 9, 2009

Brief: Generational views of communism

On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, let's take a look at how the various generations viewed communism.

The General Social Survey asked a question from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s about your view of communism. I've restricted the respondents to those between the ages of 18 and 30 to make sure that we're looking at those most prone to idealistic foolishness of one stripe or another. The generations I've chosen are earlier Baby Boomers, later Baby Boomers, the disco-punk generation (perhaps Second Silent Generation is better), earlier Generation X-ers, and later Generation X-ers. Here are the results:

I knew beforehand that those born between the two most recent loudmouth generations (Boomers and X-ers) would be the least sympathetic to commies because they came of age during a decidedly non-ideological period -- roughly the late '70s and early '80s, in contrast to the highly ideological Sixties and early '90s that the other two generations grew up during. Young people during the social hysterias felt compelled to embrace the larger world in order to change it for the better, while young people during a period of relative social calm felt like telling the larger world to go get a life of its own, leave us alone, and let us have fun.

I'm putting together a more detailed post about generational differences in voting patterns across the years, so stay tuned.

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